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Offensive Strategies in Football

Football is a game of strategy. When the offense and defense line up against one another, they both have a goal in mind. Implementing the right strategy can give one side a clear advantage and the means to achieve those goals.

If you are a fan of the game, knowing some of the offensive strategies can give you a better perspective. Here are a few of the different offensive strategies that you should be aware of when watching your next game.

Option Offense

There are too many offensive strategies to consider in one space but they are important to how the two sides match up. When you look at things like NFL betting odds or even playing football video games, strategy is an important part of the game. Without it, things can get out of control quickly and lead to sheer chaos.

The option offense is a strategy that provides – you guessed it – options. Typically, the option offers the quarterback the chance to hand the ball off to the running back or keep it himself. This decision point is known as the mesh point and it is where the quarterback reads the defense and makes his choice. There are also run-pass options where the quarterback can hand off or keep the ball and look for an open receiver.

Smashmouth Offense

For the most part, you will hear basic offensive football strategies narrowed down to running or passing. At its most base, an old school “smashmouth” offense is about lining up and pushing the opposition off the ball in order to establish the running game.

A smashmouth offense is about large, strong offensive linemen, blocking tight ends, bigger running backs, and even the use of a fullback. These have become less prevalent because of the importance of the passing game but can still be effective depending on the team and the situation.

Air Raid Offense

In the college game, the air raid offense has become popular in recent years. The premise of the attack is to pass the ball on most plays. While that might seem simplistic, there are a couple of basic premises here. The first is to tire out the defense, forcing them into bad positions because they are simply too winded to keep up.

The second is to cover a lot of ground in a short time, putting pressure on the defense the entire time. It can be a high-risk offensive style but can also lead to a lot of points on the board. This is more prevalent in the college game than it is in the NFL because of the discrepancy in talent from the top of the scale to the bottom.

Spread Offense

Over the last 20 or so years, the spread offense has become the driving force in both the collegiate and professional games. The concept of the spread offense is to literally spread players across the field on the defensive side of the ball. With more room and faster, more athletic players, that space becomes available for those players to make the most of, turning seemingly small gains into larger ones.

The spread offense typically revolves around using three to five receiver sets. By showing the possibility of a pass, the defense is spread out to accommodate. The spread can open up rushing lanes in the middle of the field or, if the defense is respecting the run, open up lanes on the perimeter for receivers. It is a complex offensive system that can implement option elements if the quarterback is experienced and/or athletic enough to pull off those option plays.

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